Post-storm fraud common in Oklahoma
Attorney General Gentner Drummond is encouraging Oklahoma residents to be on the lookout for contractor fraud, especially in the wake of last month’s tornadoes and severe storms. Drummond’s warning is part of National Consumer Protection Week, a time designated for helping people understand their consumer rights and avoid frauds and scams. The week runs March 5-11 this year.
Drummond said the weeks that follow damaging storms and tornadoes are a common time for contractor fraud to occur.
“I encourage families to research companies and contractors before hiring them,” he said. “It’s important to stay on alert and to use your best judgment when selecting a contractor or construction company.”
Ethan Shaner, deputy attorney general for the consumer protection unit, said construction and contractor fraud is the most common complaint submitted by consumers. Complaints in this category include new construction, roof repairs and replacements, remodeling and concrete work.
Shaner said the best ways to avoid contractor fraud are to:
- ask for referrals from people you know and trust.
- interview several contractors and take time to carefully review your options.
- obtain written proposals that accurately cover all aspects of the project.
- use caution if asked for a substantial up-front payment or cash payment.
- use a local company that is established in the community.
Anyone can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit to find out if complaints have been filed against a contractor. Anyone who suspects contractor fraud should contact the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General. Consumer protection information is available at oag.ok.gov/consumer-protection or by calling 1-833-681-1895.